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Goals give Newmarket the upperhand

Newmarket 4-15  Ballyea 0-11

GOALS win games and Newmarket highlighted this when they got their championship campaign off to a winning start with a comprehensive victory over Ballyea at Cusack Park on Sunday evening.
They went into the game as favourites but, following their recent victory in the U-21B championship, Ballyea were expected to do well.
When county minor Gearóid O’Connell won possession straight  from the throw-in and raced through before forcing Kieran Devitt to save at the expense of a 65’, there was a hint that a surprise might be on the cards. County minor captain Tony Kelly converted the resultant 65’ but two minutes later, the underdogs were rocked when a defensive blunder was punished and Eoin Hayes found the net. Full-back Kevin Sheehan’s attempted handpass was intercepted and this led to the opportunity for Hayes.
Ballyea’s captain, Tony Griffin, responded with a point but they were dealt another blow when Colin Ryan took a pass from David Barrett and he too blasted to the net. These goals clearly rattled Ballyea and three Colin Ryan points followed to leave the winners seven points clear after just 10 minutes.
To their credit, Ballyea hit back with three points in as many minutes, two from Kelly and one from Griffin, before Newmarket struck another huge blow when Ryan struck for his second goal.
A Shane O’Brien goal just before the half-time whistle left the winners 13 clear at half-time, 4-8 to 0-7.
Ballyea returned with a number of changes to their defence which saw both Eamonn Griffin and Brian Murphy replaced. Paul Flanagan was now at full-back having started at wing-forward.
Any slim hopes that might have existed of a Ballyea fight-back were quickly dispelled as the winners scored the opening four points of the half to stretch their lead to 17 points. To their credit, Ballyea battled to the end and limited the winners to just two points in the last 20 minutes.
Colin Ryan took an early lead in the championship top-scorer contest with 2-9 to his credit before he was called ashore with just over five minutes remaining. In addition, the full-forward, helped set up a number of scores for his team mates in the first half but he didn’t get as much room when Paul Flanagan switched to defence.
Ballyea can take consolation from the performances of Tony Kelly, Gearóid O’Connell, Paul Flanagan and Jack Browne, three of whom are still eligible for minor while Flanagan is just out of the grade this season having captained Clare to the Munster minor title in 2010.
The early goals gave Newmarket the upperhand and, to their credit, they built on that. Stephen Kelly and James McInerney were in control in the heart of their defence while, up front, Colin Ryan and Eoin Hayes caused all sorts of problems for the Ballyea defence.

Newmarket: Kieran Devitt; Eoin O’Brien, Stephen Kelly, Niall O’Connor; Enda Barrett (captain), James McInerney, Darren O’Connor; Sean O’Connor, Martin O’Hanlon; Enda Kelly, Shane O’Brien, David Barrett; Eoin Hayes, Colin Ryan, Tommy Griffin.
Subs: James Liddy for Griffin (45 minutes), Paudie Collins for S O’Connor (48 minutes), Alan Barrett for D O’Connor (48 minutes), Anthony Kilmartin for Ryan (55 minutes).
Scorers: Colin Ryan (2-9, 0-7f); Eoin Hayes (1-2), Shane O’Brien (1-1); David Barrett, Enda Kelly, James Liddy (0-1 each).
Frees for: 11; wides: 9.
Bookings: none.
“It was a game we were very concerned about and there was never any question of us taking Ballyea for granted. We hit the ground running. We created four goal chances and we converted each one. I was every bit as delighted with our workrate as I was with our scores and with the result,” Bob Enright, Newmarket manager
Ballyea: Shane O’Neill; Jack Browne, Kevin Sheehan, Eamonn Griffin; Brian Murphy, Paddy O’Connell, Niall Keane; Tony Kelly, Gearóid O’Connell; Cathal Doohan, Alan Carigg, Paul Flanagan; Niall Deasy, Francie O’Reilly, Tony Griffin (captain).
Subs: Francie Neylon for Murphy (half-time), David Sheehan for E Griffin (half-time); James Murphy for Carigg (43 minutes).
Scorers: Tony Kelly (0-7, 65 x 2, 3f); Tony Griffin (0-2), Niall Deasy, Kevin Sheehan (0-1 each).
Frees for: 14; wides: 10; 65s: 3.
Bookings: none.
“I am very disappointed. It was hard to recover from a start, which saw Newmarket score two goals inside the first five minutes. The game was really over after the first quarter,” Michael Hehir, Ballyea, manager.
Referee: Ger Hoey, Killanena.

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